Furbearer Hunting & Trapping
Furbearer Hunting Licensing Requirements
To hunt for furbearers, hunters must have a current Regular N.H. Hunting, Combination, or Archery License. A Small Game License does not allow for the hunting of furbearers.
Furbearer Hunting Regulations
Hunting Hours: ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset.
There is no daily bag limit for coyote, red fox, gray fox, opossum, skunk, weasel, mink, muskrat, or raccoon.
There is no open hunting season for otter or beaver. Furbearers shall not be taken with an air rifle.
- No closed season.
- Night Hunting: Coyotes may be hunted at night from Jan. 1 through March 31. Lights may be used, except from a motor vehicle, snowmobile, or OHRV. Coyote night hunters are restricted to shotguns, .22 caliber rimfire, muzzleloaders, or archery equipment in those towns with special rules (see Deer Hunting Regulations).
- Electronic calling devices are legal.
- Written landowner permission, filed with the local conservation officer, is required to hunt coyote at night or to place bait for coyotes.
- Baiting is not permitted on ice-covered public waters.
- From the close of the bear baiting season through December 15, baiting for coyote will be restricted to the use of meat, animal parts, carrion, or fish only.
Sealing required within 10 days of the close of season. The lower jaw of fisher must be submitted at the time of sealing. The season limit is 2 fisher.
Raccoon may be hunted at night. It is illegal to use a rifle or pistol larger than .22 caliber, or shot size larger than number 4 birdshot. It is illegal to take raccoons using a light from a motor vehicle or OHRV.
Trapping Licensing Requirements
Any person (regardless of age), except resident landowners while upon their own land or children under 16 years of age when accompanied by a licensee 18 years of age or over, must have a license to trap fur-bearing animals. This license can only be purchased at Fish and Game headquarters in Concord or by mail from N.H. Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301. Trapping Licenses expire on June 30 of each year.
No person shall be issued a license to trap unless he or she presents proof that he or she has completed a trapper education course or has previously held a N.H. license to trap within the last three years.
- Trapping License—Resident Minor: N.H. resident youths (under age 16) may purchase this license with proof of Trapper Education or a previous Trapping License. This license allows youth trappers to trap without adult accompaniment.
- Nonresident Trapping Licenses: In order to be eligible for a N.H. Trapping License, the applicant’s state or province must allow nonresidents to trap within their jurisdictions.
Persons engaged in the practice of trapping nuisance animals are required to possess a Wildlife Control Operator’s License, available at Fish and Game headquarters in Concord or by mail.
General Trapping Regulations
- Snares may be used for taking beaver and otter. Snares shall only be set in water or under ice.
- All traps/snares must have the name of the person setting them, either stamped or engraved in a legible and permanent manner on the trap or on a durable tag securely affixed to the trap or snare or chain holding the trap.
- Only New Hampshire residents may trap beaver and otter during the N.H. open seasons.
- When set, all traps must be securely attached to the ground, to a fixed object, to a drag, or to a slide wire.
- Otter sealing is required within 10 days of the close of the otter season.
- Fisher sealing is required within 10 days of the close of the fisher season.
- There is no open season on bobcat, lynx, or pine marten.
- No person may set, arrange, or tend any trap/snare upon any land or from the shores of any waters of which he is not the owner or occupant unless he has signed, written permission, and until a copy is filed with the conservation officer in whose district said person is going to trap, together with a description of the land on which trapping is to be done. The only exceptions are traps/snares placed in public bodies of water as defined in RSA 271:20 and on the following named rivers: Androscoggin, Ammonoosuc, Ashuelot, Bearcamp, Contoocook, Connecticut, Cocheco, Exeter, Lamprey, Mascoma, Merrimack, Merrymeeting, Isinglass, Pemigewasset, Pine, Saco, Soucook, Suncook, and Winnipesaukee and their navigable tributaries. Navigable tributaries are those waters from the tributary’s mouth to a point upstream where a person can row a boat or paddle a canoe when the water in the stream is in its ordinary condition.
- No person may set or arrange any trap in a public way, cart road, or path commonly used as a passageway by human beings or domestic animals.
- Any trapper causing injury or damage to domestic animals, with the exception of dogs at large, shall be liable to the owner. An injury to a licensed dog at large shall be reported to the town or city listed on the dog’s tag, and to the owner of the dog, if known.
- No person may set or arrange any trap/snare in or under any bridge, ditch, or drainage system, whether artificial or natural, within the limits of the right-of-way of any public highway except by special permission of the executive director.
- A trapper must visit set traps at least once each calendar day. A person trapping beaver through the ice must visit his traps at least once each 72 hours.
- Trappers may use artificial lights to facilitate checking traps. Checking traps by the use of lights from a motor vehicle is prohibited.
- While checking traps at night, no person shall have in possession a rifle, revolver, or pistol larger than a .22 caliber long rifle, air rifle larger than 25 caliber, or a shotgun with shells larger than number 4 birdshot.
- Annual Trapper’s Report due April 30: All persons licensed to trap furbearing animals, whether they trapped or not, are required to submit an Annual Trapper’s Report by April 30 of each year.
- Fur Dealers must submit a completed “Fur Dealers’ Record Book” (Furs Purchased—Form F&G 152, Furs Sold—Form F&G 152A) to N.H. Fish and Game on or before July 30 of each year. All licensees must carry on their persons a Form F&G 152 when buying the skins of furbearing animals. All forms are available from Fish and Game’s Concord headquarters.
It Is Unlawful to:
- Disturb or interfere with the dams or houses of beaver without obtaining a special permit from the executive director or his designee, except as provided in RSA 210:9.
- Set or arrange any trap prior to the first day of the open season for trapping a species.
- Disturb the trap of another person or take a furbearing animal from the trap of another person, unless specifically authorized in writing by the owner of the trap.
- Per Fis 303.12 (a Fish and Game Administrative Rule), body gripping traps with an inside jaw spread greater than or equal to 6½ inches, measured inside the jaws perpendicular to the trap’s pivoting joints, shall only be set:
- Five feet or more above the ground or surface of the snow (with the exception of a snowstorm during the previous 24 hours); or
- In water for trapping beaver or otter.
- Place a trap within 15 feet of a muskrat house, or injure or destroy the house, den or burrow used by any game or furbearing animal.
- Place a trap within 50 feet of exposed bait (see Statewide Restrictions on Lynx Protection Zone & Trap Restrictions).
Trapping on State-Managed Lands
Permits to trap on state-managed lands are issued by lottery every two years, in even years only, and are valid for two years. The next lottery will be in September 2024.
Permit forms, applications, property maps, and lists of available lands may be obtained from the Wildlife Division in Concord (603-271-2461), or downloaded from huntnh.com.